Last month marked my 20th anniversary in the journalism profession. It’s a little hard to believe.
When I first became a reporter here at what was then known as the Branson Daily News, I wasn’t sure if it was a longterm career choice, or a chapter in a bigger journey. I worked here until 2007 and then went to the Springfield News-Leader for six and a half years. I returned in October 2013 and became the managing editor in May 2014.
It’s brought me plenty of joy and satisfaction (and, at times, a degree of frustration) to bring community news to the newspaper readers in the Tri-Lakes area.
If there is anything I’ve come to appreciate in my 20 years, it is the importance of a community newspapers. It’s local journalists who continue to let the members of this community know what is going on with their local government, with their schools, with their local businesses, and with their neighbors. Communities need journalists working in their community to hold their elected officials (and others with power) accountable. But we are also here to let you know about the great things your neighbors are accomplishing or doing – awards, donations, presentations, achievements and so on.
In my 20 years, the one thing I’ve never stopped appreciating is the readers. Individuals who read print journalism are a special class. They know what’s going on in the community. They know who their elected officials are. They also care about their community and the direction it’s heading. It is my pleasure to work to bring news and information to the readers.
If you subscribe to this newspaper and read it regularly, I salute you. You are the main reason I do what I do.
In an era when virtually everyone has a phone that gives them instant news updates about national and international news, and at a time when large news agencies like to frighten viewers into binge-watching their never-ending dramatization of events, your community news remains vitally important. In fact, in recent years, I’ve been trying to emphasize how important your local elections really are. I guarantee you that your city and county elected officials have more impact on your day-to-day lives than your state and national elected officials do.
I’m not saying that national news and elections are not important (current events should make it obvious they are quite important). I am saying that decisions about crime prevention, road repairs, fire safety, school performance, housing, charity, vaccination distribution, and much more are all handled at the local level.
Besides, I truly believe that despite what many politicians and major media outlets lead us to believe, most of us agree on the vast majority of national issues the vast majority of the time, but conflict sells news more easily than harmony. That’s not to make light of anything going on in the national news as you’re reading this; it is important to keep track of it from reliable news sources.
I, to the best of my ability, have tried to be a reliable source of news from your community. I take that seriously, and I always try to find ways to do better.
Thank you, readers, for being there for me.